MacArthur Awards for Creative & Effective Institutions

Family Care International

New York, New York | 2013 Award Recipient

Making pregnancy and childbirth safer

Every two minutes, somewhere in the world, a woman dies from preventable or treatable complications of pregnancy and childbirth. For every woman who dies, 20 more experience serious illness or disability. And every year, three million babies do not survive their first month of life.

When Family Care International was founded 25 years ago, the world was paying little attention to the hundreds of thousands of women who were dying each year. The first international organization dedicated to reducing maternal death, Family Care International helped put the issue of maternal health on the map. Now maternal mortality has been cut in half, but much work remains to be done.

Headquartered in New York City with locally-staffed offices in three countries in Africa and two in Latin America, Family Care International works in close partnership with governments, civil society organizations, donors, communities, grassroots advocates, and women’s groups. Pairing efforts to strengthen the capacity of local organizations, advocates, and governments with a powerful advocacy voice on the global stage, the organization works to ensure that all women have access to the maternal and reproductive health care they need. Doing so saves the lives and protects the health of women and improves the well-being and prosperity of their children, families, and communities.

Family Care International has improved the quality of maternal care in hundreds of rural health centers by educating and motivating village chiefs and religious leaders to encourage women to give birth in skilled care facilities, and helping villagers arrange for transportation to clinics for women with life-threatening obstetric complications. The organization has worked with governments in many countries to assess their maternal health programs and to develop national strategies for reducing maternal mortality. The organization also helped persuade the UN General Assembly to adopt universal access to reproductive health as an explicit target of the Millennium Development Goals, and is training activists and communities with the skills to make sure that governments fulfill their commitments to provide services that improve women’s health.

Family Care International will use its $1 million MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions to establish a cash reserve and update its financial management system.

Grantee Profile: Learn more about Family Care International

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